|The magazine of University of Houston-Clear Lake
Spring/Summer 2013 | volume 19 | number 2
Welcoming the Future
On a spring-like day in February, UHCL faculty, staff and students experienced something more unusual than the unseasonable warm temps and sunny skies in winter: they met teenagers with a purpose on their campus. Eighty-three high school sophomores and juniors and their parents attended the first Hawk Premiere, a recruiting event unlike any other that the upper-level university has held. While Open Houses are common UHCL events for area community college transfer students and professionals considering a graduate degree to explore their options, events geared primarily for teenagers are something new.
A New Generation
“I either want to be an art designer or a doctor,” says Jasmine Jones, a 15-year-old high school student who attended the event and is still contemplating where to attend classes, and adds with a smile. “I guess I still have some time to decide.”
Jones was joined at the Hawk Premiere by two high school-age friends and all three know about UHCL from Jones’ mother Rauchelle who serves as the university’s executive director of admissions.
“This is just one of the differences that I’ve talked with the admissions counselors about; that for the first time, we are going to have students who really have no idea what they want to study or what they need to study to achieve the goals they have for themselves,” says the elder Jones.
But unlike her daughter and her daughter’s friends, Jones says that many of the students may also be first-generation students who don’t have the benefit of having a mother who not only graduated from college but now works at one.
“Parents who didn’t go to college have a slightly different level of engagement than those who attended themselves,” explains Jones. “However, we are finding that even if they did go to college, parents of the future students, or millennials, will have a more hands-on approach when it comes to the education of their children.”
Fortunately, university administrators know that enrollment counselors are a first line of contact for the students who decide they want to attend UHCL. Because of that, the university added counselors this spring to assist both parents and students.
“Students are going to show up not knowing anything about college, and we will be starting at ‘ground zero.’ Others will have some knowledge because many of the local high schools do a very good job preparing students,” says Jones.
What better way to welcome high school juniors and seniors to UHCL than to have a high school junior rally to the cause? When local Career Counselor Beth Dennard contacted former UHCL Director of Alumni and Community Relations Charity Ellis about allowing 16-year-old Amanda Bradley to shadow her for an hour a couple of days a week, Ellis happily agreed.
“It was a good match,” says Ellis. “Amanda wanted to learn more about community relations, and she was part of a target market that could help us get the word out to her classmates about UHCL’s four-year initiative.”
Bradley also thought it was a good match and had the opportunity to work with someone who works in the field she hopes to work in some day. When her independent study mentoring class at school suggested she find a mentor in a field she enjoys, Bradley contacted Bright Futures Consulting counselor, Dennard, who immediately suggested Ellis.
One project they worked closely together on was an event at a local yogurt shop that allowed high school students interested in finding out more about UHCL to meet with university transfer advisers and university alumni to discuss the opportunities available at UHCL. Working with UHCL Academic Transfer Adviser Alvin Johnson and Ellis, Bradley created a survey that was sent to approximately 600 students in the Clear Lake High School junior class. Approximately 150 responded to the survey.
“We worked on the questions together and included a question about whether they were interested in receiving more information about UHCL,” says Bradley. “If they said yes, we gave them a place to put their name and email; then we invited them to the yogurt event.”
Eighteen students attended the successful yogurt event.
“Working at UHCL has been a very positive experience,” says Bradley. “I learned a lot about community relations, but I also learned how to be professional in all that I do.”
“The right thing for us”
“This is the second most significant change in the history of the university since its opening in 1974,” says UHCL President William A. Staples who is enthusiastic about the change and has been speaking about it to area organizations. “UHCL’s commitment to our community college partners and transfer students will not be diminished nor will our commitment to our graduate students and graduate programs, but transition from an upper-level university to a four-year university is the right thing for us to do now.”
With this change come numerous questions: What about student services? What about the additional entry-level classes? When classes are added, who will teach them? Where will the new students park?
Realizing the complexity of the 2011 legislative authorization to offer courses to freshmen and sophomores, university senior leadership, including the deans, established a steering committee that understood the monumental task ahead of them. They quickly established six committees to address the various needs including enrollment management, student services, curriculum, learning resources, facilities and fi nancial resources.
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Construction Ward Martaindale chairs the Facilities Committee. While the current space will be acceptable for the first few years, the university’s current classroom space is “significantly underutilized” during the daytime. He knows that eventually new buildings will need to be added and current space will need to be revised.
“Our labs are geared to upperclassmen,” says Martaindale, pointing to just one of the issues that will eventually need to be addressed. “We will need to address that issue and are hopeful about adding buildings.”
In fact, new buildings were the focus of a presentation Staples made to the Texas Senate Finance Committee in January. Formally, the president requested tuition revenue bond authority to add a Science and Academic Support Building and a Student Access and Classroom Building. If permission to move forward is received, the university will add approximately up to 287,000 to its campus facilities.
Supporting the Future
Funding for the four-year initiative however, will not solely rely on tuition revenue bonds for new buildings. To prepare for the arrival of the first freshman class in fall 2014, the projected multi-million dollar cost will be offset by funding coming through three avenues including possible start-up funding from new state approprations, a reallocation of the current budget, and private funds. Among these private funds is a $1 million grant from Houston Endowment to assist with start-up of the four-year initiative.
“The money from Houston Endowment will fund new and expanded programs and activities specifically to address the needs of freshmen and sophomores,” explains Associate Vice President for University Advancement and co-chair of the Financial Resources Committee Dion McInnis.
McInnis adds that there will be staffing and equipment needs in such important areas as the Writing Center and Math Center, and the recently established Office of Veteran Services. Tutoring needs and transitioning services remain key initiatives too, while various resources are being considered to assist with funding much-needed scholarships.
Financial Resources Committee co-chair and Executive Director of Budget Jean Carr addresses the needs for additional staff and says that by the end of fiscal year 2013, the university will have added approximately 15 staff members, with many of those in the enrollment management area to help with recruitment and admissions processing.
Other items in development by the committees include creating a positive first-year experience through peer mentoring and freshman interest groups, revising the student handbook to be more useful to students, and expanding and updating the current orientation program. And, events like the Hawk Premiere, named after the university’s new mascot, will become more commonplace.
But the outcome will be worth it for the additional 200 freshmen and 100 sophomores who are projected to attend UHCL in 2014.
Deer Park Independent School District junior Johnny Garza might be one such freshman. The Hawk Premiere attendee and his parents, Andrea and Johnny Sr., decided to attend the event at UHCL to explore the educational opportunities close to home. His sixth-grade sister, Alyssa, tagged along to take a look too.
“A teacher told me that you were going to be adding freshmen soon and once we received the invitation in the mail we decided to come here for a visit,” explains the 17-year-old Garza, who is still exploring options and adds that he’s gathering information specifically for fields in law enforcement and/or criminal justice and will probably be looking into UHCL’s Bachelor of Science in Criminology.
“We want him to do what he wants,” explains Andrea Garza. “College matters, but it’s mainly his decision if and where he might go.”
With the addition of freshmen and sophomores to UHCL, students like Johnny Garza and Jasmine Jones will have a way to attend a four-year university and still stay close to home.
Freshmen applications will be accepted beginning August 2013.
Fall 2014 application deadlines:
February 1, 2014 (priority) and June 1, 2014 (final)
Students in the top 10 percent of their high schools will qualify for automatic admission if they meet the following criteria:
|Rank In Class||Minimum SAT Scores||Minimum ACT score|
|SAT I Total (CR + M)||ACT Composite|
|Below 51 %||Individual Review||Individual Review|
|GED/Homeschooled||Individual Review||Individual Review|
For more information, visit www.uhcl.edu/admissions.
Maintained By: Office of Communications
© 2013 University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX 77058